Nick Grealy has written an interesting piece about shale and UK politics, picking up comments by Fraser Nelson after the reshuffle.
Is there actually any advocacy of the case for shale gas/oil in the UK at all?
The case for extraction from shale is economic.
In the US, it has brought more jobs and slashed energy bills. It might be able to do that here.
It's notable that the anti-fracking brigade on the Balcombe blog steer well clear of this fundamental point.
The case for shale is NOT that the gas/oil can be extracted safely with tight regulation. If that was the case in favour, why do it.
Why is the industry content to fight on the anti-frackers' ground, concentrating on the (allegedly controversial) environmental and safety issues? Of course they have to be addressed, but they are constraints. I know the technical issues interest the specialists more. But they are not the biggest issue.
If there is no economic case for shale extraction, there is no case at all.
That is the drum that has to be banged and banged again. Only that way will a consensus start to build in favour.
I'm not in favour of shale oil/gas. I'm in favour of cheaper energy and more jobs – not just now, but quite possibly for decades. We've seen in the US that extraction from shale can provide that safely. So let's go for it.
The debate needs to be that the economic goals are desirable, so how can we get there.
The industry shouldn't be relying on Fraser Nelson as standard bearer.